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A Cashless society?


NormanH

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This looks very 'modern' but the clue to what lies behind it is in the middle of the article: "The government has not sought to stem the cashless tide. If anything, it has benefited from more efficient tax collection, because electronic transactions leave a trail; in countries like Greece and Italy, where cash is still heavily used, tax evasion remains a big problem.

Leif Trogen, an official at the Swedish Bankers’ Association, acknowledged that banks were earning substantial fee income from the cashless revolution. But because it costs money for banks and businesses to conduct commerce in cash, reducing its use makes financial sense, Mr. Trogen said."

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/27/business/international/in-sweden-a-cash-free-future-nears.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=Moth-Visible&moduleDetail=inside-nyt-region-5&module=inside-nyt-region&region=inside-nyt-region&WT.nav=inside-nyt-region&_r=0

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Well as I have previously posted elsewhere, while I can see a trend if we accept that cashlessness is the inevitable consequence, then we accept the death of the small trader, the damage to our tourist industries and the divorce of our children from the value of money - real or virtual.

My examples are:

Our local market. Many of the small traders are local farmer selling their produce. They cannot afford the 10€/month to hire a card reader, let alone the extra charges on their business. So the local market dies.

My wife occasionally uses her UK card for purchases in France. For this privilege, she is charged a 3% fee plus £1 per transaction. So let us say she goes to the local tabac to buy one postcard at 50c - charged at 51.5c plus £1 - and then goes to the post office to buy a stamp - charged at 97c plus £1. so to send one postcard she now has to pay €2.90 - net result no cards bought or sent (I guess about 25% of cards are kept as mementoes and are not sent).

You are sat on the beach and your daughter asks if she can have an ice cream - are you going to give her your card and PIN (assuming the proven unsafe direct scan is not in use) and send her down the beach to the ice cream van? I guess not.

Yes it all sounds very plausible until you look at reality - of course reality has never stopped a politician.
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Card and pin will be reserved for larger transactions. For everything else we will be obliged to use some "Oyster Card" type of thing which will require topping up - quite possibly built into Smartphones.

The day this comes into force is the day I move to another country. Assuming I havent left already for any of the dozens of other potential reasons for me to go.
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Rather an acid view I'm afraid, but my guess is a lot of people like Andy4s farmer would just put their prices up to cover the extra expense, but the biggest downside would be that there would be no choice but to declare all the money to the taxman rather than have cash .....a major downside for some....

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When I saw a documentary on Sweden's cashless society, it was explained that cashless means that you can't buy an item over a certain amount paying cash or by cheque.  You could only pay by bank card.

The lady interviewed was the owner of a furniture store and she said it would be safer for her employees as they opened till 8 at night and there would usually be just the one sales assistant.  The assistant would have to lock up and leave by the back door and there would be no cash on the person or indeed on the premises.

Cashless doesn't mean totally without cash for small purchases just not large amounts of bank notes and not cheques.  They were running a scheme to teach older people how to use bank cards, buy things on line, do self-purchases on POS machines, etc.

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It's not only about the ability to track every transaction for tax purposes, but going cashless will also enable negative interest rates, bank bail-ins . . .

Anyone wanting to protest against this possibility can sign a petition here (UK-based)

http://moneyweek.com/wp/hands-off-our-cash-petition

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